April 7, 2023 (New York, NY) – In response to news of the expulsion of two Black legislators from the Tennessee statehouse, Karen Wharton, Democracy Coalition Coordinator for Citizen Action of New York, had the following to say:
“Yesterday we watched in abject horror at the senseless expulsion of duly elected members of the Tennessee State Legislature for speaking out against assault rifles. The expulsion once again demonstrated the toxic brew of rank racism and anti-democracy being served nationwide to disenfranchise people of color. We must fight against this with all of our might. We must protect and expand our democracy. We cannot allow a third post-Reconstruction Period to take root.
“This is why we strenuously oppose voter ID laws, disenfranchisement of currently incarcerated, discriminatory language barriers, voter dilution, and all other ploys that only serve to weaken democracy and further disenfranchise people of color.
“We call on the federal government to protect our democracy by reintroducing and passing the Freedom to Vote Act. Voters need to be protected from vicious and pernicious power grabs! And, here at home, we need to make it easier for people without access to wealth to run for public office with the support of their communities. That’s why we call on the NYS Legislature and Governor Hochul to fund the Public Campaign Finance Program and make it available without delay for elections in 2024.”